Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

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MikeF
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Viipuri Bay

Post by MikeF » 10 Sep 2006 18:54

Hello,

Getting back on subject, somewhat anyway, after the fall of Viipuri and the continuing of the Soviet push at such locations as Tali and Vuosalmi, the 59th Army attempted to cross the Bay of Viipuri and land on the southern coast of the Finnish mainland after having taken some islands along the way. I fielded a question at the Feldgrau forum about the participation of the German 122nd Division in this battle and got the following response:

"122th ID was part of the finnish V. army corps since 5.7.1944. The division defended the coast in the area near Tervajoki.

Behind the IR 200 layed a large number of finnish artillery with 7,5 cm "Feldkanonen".

In the morning of 9.7.1944 a russian amphibious landing begun. The operation was made in the bay of Viipuri, between the isles Melanssari and Turkinsaari. The german sources reported the russian 124th and 224th Rifle Division. Artillery firing begun at 8.30 am agaist the whole line of the 122th ID. At 9.00 am 8 landing boats appeared, each with 56 men. 4 of them were sunk by the 2 "Abteilungen" of the finnish artillery. The 122th made 12 pows.
More ships appeared between Harjuniemi and Sydänsaari in a second attack, and they were pushed back with heavy losses (over 200).
The third attack begun at 9.00 in the direction Niemilauta. with 5 boats and 5 warships. The landings succeeded on the western coast of the peninsula, but a german counterattack of the 122th ID eliminated the bridgehead immediatly. Another landing on Niemilauta in the early afternoon failed by the finnish artillery.

The main attack was directed against Essari and Koivusaari. The artillery sunk 10 ships, and the russian troops were unable to build a bridgehead during the morning of 9.7.1944. There was sighted another russian convoy at sea with 28 boats (the main body of the landing fleet), but it was hold back as a second wave and moved away after the first landings were pushed back.

The russian losses were estimated with 1000 kia by the 122th ID."

It would appear that, as was the case throughout the summer of '44, the Finnish artillery played a major role in repelling this Soviet attack. Can anyone elaborate on the Finnish part in repelling the attack of the 59th Army?

Thanks and regards,
Mike

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 11 Sep 2006 10:13

I don't remember the details and don't have any reference materiel on the combat with me at the moment. German troops and Estonian volunteer regiment JR 200 (at first one, later two battalions) were in the mainland, not in the islands were the most bloody fights took place. There fought the troops of Finnish East Gulf of Finland Coastal Brigade (Itä-Suomenlahden rannikkoprikaati, I.Suom.RPr.) and Cavalry Brigade (Rv.Pr.).

http://www.geocities.com/finnmilpge/fmp ... 42_44.html

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Viipuri Bay

Post by MikeF » 12 Sep 2006 04:22

Hello Harri,

So the Cavalry Brigade, that perhaps was one of the many reasons why Viipuri proper fell so quickly due to its retreating units demoralizing the troops of the defending 20th Brigade, redeemed itself against the 59th Army's amphibious assualts against the islands of Viipuri Bay? The battered10th Division, that had also retreated through Viipuri, was in the area.....did it perform well also or was it mainly in reserve?

The only sources that I have that even address these battles are "Soviet Naval Operations in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" by Achkasov & Pavlovich and "The Battle of Leningrad 1941-1945" by Glantz. These sources are excellent but they address the island battles largely from a Soviet point of view. I would be interested in learning the Finnish view of the struggles for the islands.

Regards,
Mike

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 12 Sep 2006 08:52

MikeF wrote:So the Cavalry Brigade, that perhaps was one of the many reasons why Viipuri proper fell so quickly due to its retreating units demoralizing the troops of the defending 20th Brigade, redeemed itself against the 59th Army's amphibious assualts against the islands of Viipuri Bay? The battered10th Division, that had also retreated through Viipuri, was in the area.....did it perform well also or was it mainly in reserve?
10th Division didn't participate in the battles (I don't remember if some of its units did). It was under major reforming and refitting after delaying Soviet troops in June. It was in reserve of V Army Corps (Maj.Gen. A. Svensson).

Mainly HRR [Häme Mounted Regiment] led at that stage by Lt.Col. C.-G. Wahren and URR [Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment] led by Cavalry Captain M. Palokangas (seriously WIA already on 4.7.1944) and Lt.Col. C. Palmgren (Chief of Staff / Cav.Brig.) which were involved in the hardest battles. Cavalry Brigade's jäger battalions (JP 1 and 6) didn't participate in these battles. IIRC at least the cavalry units (without horses after 1943) of the Cavalry Brigade withdrew through these islands, not through Viipuri? Although some squardons fought very well also at Suonionsaari island cavalry partly "sucked".

Anyway Cavalry Brigade and 10th Division were the first Finnish non-naval units at Bay of viborg. German 122.I.D. which had arrived in Finland on 30.6. was in reserve until took the sector of Cavalry Brigade on 8.7. 17th Division (Maj.Gen. A. Sundman), which included Swedish speaking units, was ahead of Viipuri.

A new 1st Coastal Division (1. Rannikkodivisioona, 1.RD) led by Col. P. Enkainen was formed in mid-July at Bay of Viborg. It included troops and units from the suspended Lake Onega Coastal Brigade, Coastal Regiment 2 (RR 2, former Coastal Artillery Regiment 2) led by Lt.Col. T. Reponen and Coastal Artillery Regiment 22 (RTR 22) led by Col. A. Lyytinen.
MikeF wrote:The only sources that I have that even address these battles are "Soviet Naval Operations in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" by Achkasov & Pavlovich and "The Battle of Leningrad 1941-1945" by Glantz. These sources are excellent but they address the island battles largely from a Soviet point of view. I would be interested in learning the Finnish view of the struggles for the islands.
There is a very detailed Finnish book on the island battles by Niilo Lappalainen: "Veren kostuttamat saaret" (1983) [Islands Moistened by Blood]. His another book "Viipurinlahti kesällä 1944" (1988) [Bay of Viborg in the Summer 1944] describes battles a bit wider. Matti Koskimaa's "Torjuntavoitto Viipurinlahdella kesällä 1944" (1996) [Repel Victory at the Bay of Viborg in the Summer 1944] is a great book of the subject too.

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Post by MikeF » 13 Sep 2006 01:06

Hello Harri & others :D ,

I remember seeing a picture somewhere that showed some Finnish soldiers having just swam from one island to the next to retreat from the Soviet advance. Jari Aromaa's excellent site "The Finnish Navy in World War II" describes the navy aspect of the the battle very well. The Finnish Navy suffered some of its worst losses during this time as it attempted to attack the Soviet landing forces as well as support the troops on land. Most losses were suffered from air attack, I believe. What were the losses like to the Cavalry Brigade and the other involved forces? The title of the book "Islands Moistened by Blood" that you stated would lead one to believe the losses were heavy.

Regards,
Mike

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 13 Sep 2006 09:31

Losses varied a lot. In the hardest few island battles Finnish losses (KIA, MIA, WIA) were more than 50% but some units suffered relatively small losses. On the other hand in some cases the attacking Soviet battalions were nearly completely destroyed.

The numbers of defenders were relatively small, only a few thousand men. The full strenght of the cavalry regiment was about 1.000 men but after the earlier battles strengths were hardly near that. Coastal Artillery Regiment 22 (RTR 22) had the strength of about 3.500 men. Thus the total strength of the Finnish defenders in several islands was hardly more than 2.000 - 3.000 men.

Finnish and German naval units worked hard for transporting Finnish troops between islands. During the battles only small motorboats could be used.

Here are a few examples of the individual battles and end results:

30.6./1.7. Teikarsaari (Teikari) island: RTR 22 repelled a Soviet invasion of about six battalions, five Soviet battalions were completely destroyed

4.7. - 5.7. Teikarsaari and Melansaari islands: 60 Soviet vessels, invasion of a Soviet regiment at Teikari was repelled. Teikari was lost during the new invasions next day and Finnish troops withdrew from Melansaari. Defender belonged to RTR 22.

4.7. Suonionsaari island: Island was lost because the defence of the squadron of URR collapsed.

5.7. Turkinsaari island: Soviet I/Rifle Regiment 185 was repelled when it tried to attack from ravansaari and Uuras with rowing boats. Losses of the Finnish I Platoon / 3rd Squadron / HRR: 1 KIA and 22 WIA. Another Soviet attacks followed later and next day when Soviet troops could land the island. Landed Soviets were destroyed by a counter-attack group led by Sgt Allan Anttila (Mannerheim Cross # 165).

5.7. - 7.7. Hannustiensaari island: Two Soviet attack attempts of which the later one succeeded initially. Soviet troops were although destroyed. During the next days several new attacks which all were repelled.

In these battles field artillery and Finnish AT rifles played a major role because they were effective against Soviet armoured vessels. Only Finnish field artillery could fire indirectly close to own troops. Germans' shooting methods and worn out barrels didn't allow shooting close to own troops.

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Post by JariL » 13 Sep 2006 09:32

Hi,

In most cases the forces defending the islands were small, company and platoon size. If the attacker succeeded in taking the island the defenders had to be picked up by boats or had to swim. Both made them easy targets unless own artillery could protect the operation with fire and with smoke.

The biggest forces were involved in Teikari where the defending Finnish force was battalion size. In this case Finnish losses were 55% of the 1.500 men who defended the island. Red Army lost 5 out of the 6 battalions that landed. This was due to the fact that the first landing failed and the attacker was driven back to the sea.

In general the V armycore (armeijakunta) lost between 22.6.-12.7. 4.400 men as killed, wounded and missing on the islands and on mainland. RTR 22 (coastal artillery) lost 628 men out of which 297 KIA. German 122 division lost some 600 men. Estonian JR 200 lost 17 KIA and 32 WIA. Did not find a source for Finnish/German plane losses but they were not that big due to targets being relatively close to own positions and far from Soviet AA cover. Soviet losses were estimated to 12.000 KIA, WIA and MIA. Soviet air force lost some 70 planes togther with 80 or 90 vessels.

The information above comes from http://personal.inet.fi/koti/juhani.put ... ksella.htm. I did not check his sources but the scale is in line with what I remeber reading from other sources.

Regards,

Jari

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Post by MikeF » 14 Sep 2006 19:27

Thanks to all who responded. This has been a highly informative discussion, as always.

Cheers,
Mike

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 20 Sep 2006 21:08

Splitted from the Fall of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944 thread

/Juha

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Re: Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

Post by karjala » 04 Jan 2010 05:45

operation of 59 Army (June 30 - July 10, 1944)
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Denis1973
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Post by Denis1973 » 06 Jan 2010 12:43

JariL wrote: Soviet losses were estimated to 12.000 KIA, WIA and MIA. Soviet air force lost some 70 planes togther with 80 or 90 vessels.
Jari
Because this is just estimates, it must be taken with great suspicion. IMHO finnish claims must be divided by 3 or 4 at least, given the soviet strenght - two rifle divisions. For that moment average strenght of RD were 5-6000 men, inclides rear echelones and artillery.

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Re: Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

Post by Slava_M » 06 Jan 2010 14:12

One reading Russian could try to make an estimation studying documents about losses from Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence at http://www.obd-memorial.ru/
For example, one interesting document
http://www.obd-memorial.ru/Image2/getimage?id=6648832
224 RD unreturnable losses (KIA, MIA, some of DOW) 30.06 - 10.07.1944 - 1392 men.
One should assume that some losses had suffered not only 124 and 224 RD, but also 260 Marine Inf. Brigade, Red Banner Baltic Fleet and many minor units.

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Re: Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

Post by JTV » 06 Jan 2010 18:44

Slava_M wrote:One reading Russian could try to make an estimation studying documents about losses from Central Archive of the Ministry of Defence at http://www.obd-memorial.ru/
For example, one interesting document
http://www.obd-memorial.ru/Image2/getimage?id=6648832
224 RD unreturnable losses (KIA, MIA, some of DOW) 30.06 - 10.07.1944 - 1392 men.
One should assume that some losses had suffered not only 124 and 224 RD, but also 260 Marine Inf. Brigade, Red Banner Baltic Fleet and many minor units.
Jatkosodan Torjuntataisteluja 1942 - 1944 (Repulsive Battles of Continuation War 1942 - 1944) by Ari Raunio and Juri Kilin lists Soviet losses from battle of Viipurinlahti Gulf in pages 204 - 205. The information is apparently based Russian sources:
- 224 DIV, losses 30th of June - 9th of July 1944: total losses 2,623 men, from which 1,280 KIA, 1,167 WIA and 176 missing. The total losses were about half of its manpower.
- 124 DIV: When this division entered to battle of Viipurinlahti Gulf it had 5,041 men and by 9th of July its number of men had dropped to 4,626. That would suggest (assuming that the division didn't receive replacements) losses of 415 men in that time period.

The unit of 124 Division to suffer the heaviest casualties in this battle was 406th Infantry Regiment, which according statistics in 3rd - 12th of July suffered total losses of 473 men, from which 191 KIA, 269 WIA and 13 missing. This was the regiment that fought in Teikarinsaari Island 5th of July.

The Soviet unit that did earlier unsuccessful attacks to Teikarinsaari and Melansaari Islands in 4th of July was 160th Infantry Regiment of 224 Division. This regiment nominal strenght of 1,266 men, from which 1,135 men took part in these attacks which resulted it losing 1,027 men.

Teikarinsaari Island played a heavy role in Finnish losses as well. In only three days it nine Finnish companies took part in defending it, losing in the process about 300 men KIA and 530 men WIA and missing.

The book doesn't mention 260th Marine Infantry Brigade in this battle.

Jarkko

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Re: Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

Post by Denis1973 » 06 Jan 2010 21:36

So, given even with this figures from finnish side (2,623 and 473), we have about 3100 of all losses. Far from 12000... And I suppose that figure from TsAMO (1392 men istead of claimed 2623) is more historically correct.
JTV wrote: The Soviet unit that did earlier unsuccessful attacks to Teikarinsaari and Melansaari Islands in 4th of July was 160th Infantry Regiment of 224 Division. This regiment nominal strenght of 1,266 men, from which 1,135 men took part in these attacks which resulted it losing 1,027 men.
Jarkko
Is this a finnish counts? And who seized both islands in the result? Dead men?

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Re: Bay of Viipuri (Vyborg) 1944

Post by Juha Tompuri » 06 Jan 2010 21:46

Thank you Karjala for the map.
Although not a complete one of the operations of 59th Army between June 30 - July 10, 1944, as the unsuccesful operations had been forgotten to draw there.

Regards, Juha

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